Going through some papers this summer a picture fell out. The date stamp on the lower right corner says 6 28 ’99. It’s the last picture of my grandma and her next oldest sister Dollie—they’re standing with their cousin Kay.
The picture was taken one year after Grandma and I visited Michigan. We ate and visited in that same kitchen with the bright yellow cupboards and walls and the stove that was rarely used. The good stove was downstairs in the basement.
I met countless relatives—too many now gone. We visited the old farmstead and made our way through chest-high weeds to the chicken coop. From there Grandma pointed out where the house and the barns and the one-room schoolhouse used to stand.
We traveled the narrow country roads to the village her parents retired to and visited the cemetery her sister who died in childhood was buried in, later joined by her parents and eldest brother. We drove to the neighboring town four miles away where Grandma attended high school.
Now I sit at my desk and I look back fifteen plus years. Two thirds of the people and the house are gone. Aunt Dollie within four months of that day; Cousin Kay a few years after that. Grandma celebrated her 90th birthday this year.
I still have Grandma.
This post is part of the 31 Days: Family series. Read the beginning, and see a full index of posts, here.